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The 100-year-old Collier Inn on Useppa Island Re-opening Following Renovations Spurred by Hurricane
Charley Damage Incurred in 2004


USEPPA ISLAND, Fla. - July 8, 2005 -- The 100-year-old Collier Inn on Useppa Island plans a re-opening preview on August 13, 2005, unveiling historic restorations and hurricane safe renovations spurred by damage incurred during Hurricane Charley's rampage in 2004.

While the Useppa Marina and Tarpon Bay Restaurant, along with island infrastructure and amenities, were back in full operation earlier this year, the inn itself sustained such significant damage that it remained inaccessible.

Reconstruction of the historic inn has included design and installation of a metal roofing system and wind-rated doors to withstand future hurricane seasons, as well as windows with period-style trim, a new deck, wood railings and fresh paint to maintain the charm of the original architecture.

The Collier Inn's main entrance has been redesigned in its original location at the top of the stairs facing the bay, opening into an upscale "Old Florida" style lobby and lounge. Newly decorated dining rooms have been designed to partition into special event space and to access the adjacent outdoor wood deck and courtyard. A new hood system, recessed ceiling lighting, air conditioning, new commercial culinary equipment and a stainless steel wall surface created a functionally- and aesthetically-enhanced Collier Kitchen. Beautifully restored bed and breakfast style rooms and suites reflecting the original island eclecticism of the period topped off the renovations.

Useppa Island, located between Sanibel and Boca Grande, is host to a world of historical significance, in and above the century old inn. The Collier Inn was originally made famous as home to Barron G. Collier (1873-1939), a noted advertiser turned land salesman. The inn has maintained its popularity as an elegant bed-and-breakfast accessible only by boat.

Useppa Island is rich in history. The museum features relics that date the island's early residents back more than 10,000 years and the Calusa Indians had a thriving community here by 3500 B.C. The Spanish inhabited Useppa in the 16th and 17th centuries and legend has it that in the late 1700s, a Spanish pirate kidnapped and imprisoned a Mexican princess named Joseffa de Mayorga. In the local dialect "Joseffa" became "Useppa."

The original Tarpon Inn opened in 1898 as a tarpon fishing retreat, and by the 1900s it had become famous base for this sport. In 1908, the Izaak Walton Club was founded, and for some years Useppa served as the private vacation estate of publisher and wealthy Florida land-owner Barron Collier. Among the notables who frequented Useppa were Vanderbilts, Herbert Hoover, Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Gloria Swanson, Shirley Temple and Zane Grey. The island was later abandoned and used by the U.S. government as a base for the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Gar Beckstead, the resort's current owner, purchased the island in 1976 and set upon the task of restoring it to its former elegance. New discoveries and the island's unique beauty led to the re-opening of the Useppa Island Club in 1976. It will always be run in the Old-Florida style of elegant charm that its history dictates.

Phone: 1-888-735-6335


Also See: Boykin's Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa, Located on Estero Island, Survives Direct Hit from Charley / Aug 2004
Sanibel Resort & Spa Management Team Cited for Leadership In the Conception and Launch of the Resort & Hospitality Management Degree Program at Florida Gulf Coast University / June 2005

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